|Photo credit: Knitmarion|
Shortly before we had visitors, my daughter emailed me an article about "scruffy hospitality"*—which is simply about focusing on the people and not the house. Such a better way to be. No, the house was not a total mess. That's not what "scruffy" means here. But I left the toys in the den. I didn't worry about putting away the little things sitting on the bookshelves. And I didn't stress that I didn't make all of the food from scratch. I did as much as I could and then stopped before I was too tired. I wanted a welcoming home more than I wanted a perfect house.
One thing I did get done—well, at least it was in the oven when they arrived—was the classic Chex snack mix. This recipe came from another knitting friend, Missy. We made it last year at Christmas. In my mind it's a holiday recipe, but I need to reframe my thinking. It's good any time of the year. One round of the very slow baking and I had a snack for our visitors, a snack for next weekend's knitting retreat, and there will still be plenty for Daddy-O to munch on for weeks.
I couldn't find Wheat Chex this time. I don't know if that cereal doesn't exist anymore or if my stores have replaced it with Vanilla Chex, Cinnamon Chex, and Chocolate Chex which I did find. (Obviously my town has not jumped on the clean food wagon yet.) I didn't have time to drive to the next town to hunt down a box of cereal, so I used Quaker "Life Original" instead. That totally worked.
Make sure you read the recipe through and know that this take FIVE HOURS in the oven. It doesn't take but a few minutes to mix it up. But you do need to plan to be at home for those hours so that you can stir every 45 minutes.
NUTS & BOLTS (recipe from Missy's Mimi)
1 box Wheat Chex
1 box Rice Chex
1 box Cheerios (large)
1 (16-oz) bag pretzel sticks (I think 8 oz. is plenty)
1-1/2 lb mixed nuts (I use 1 lb mixed nuts and 1/2 lb pecan halves)
1-1/4 lb. butter (5 sticks)
3 tablespoons Tabasco
4 tablespoons Worcestershire
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix first five ingredients together in a VERY large bowl or pot. Bring butter, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce to a boil. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir gently to coat everything.
Pour into two large roasting pans (I use the disposable foil ones) and put on middle racks in ovens if you have a double oven, or put both in one oven and alternate positions a few times while cooking. Cook for 4-1/2 to 5 hours, stirring gently every 45 minutes.
Let cool and seal in airtight containers. (Each batch makes twelve 8-oz bags.) If sealed well, this Chex mix stays crunchy for a long time.
Those are Missy's notes in the recipe. I did exactly as she instructed. My pot for mixing is 10 qts. and it was barely big enough. (If you don't own a giant pot, I think you could divide your cereals, nuts and butter mix up between the two foil pans.) Stir carefully. I slid my pans into the oven at exactly 2:00 PM so I knew it would be done at 7:00 PM. I wrote down my 45 minute time intervals (2:45, 3:30, etc) and marked them off every time I stirred. That made it easy to keep up with it.
*from the article by Jack King...
"Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together."